The teaching on the Book of Job.
I was watching a film on Netflix called “The Boy who Harnessed the Wind.” It tells the true story of 13-year-old William Kamkwamba who built a wind turbine to save his Malawian village from famine. From a combination of corporate exploitation and greed, Government corruption and a failed rainy season, the people of William’s village and surrounding areas were starving.
What was significant to me was that the village had a well which was not dry, there was enough water in it to supply all their needs. However, because there was no pump they could not draw enough of it quickly enough to irrigate their crops. And so they were starving.
Back in King Ahaz and Hezekiah’s time, Jerusalem faced a similar problem. There was an abundant supply of water in the Gihon spring but it was located outside the walls of Jerusalem. This meant that it had to be laboriously collected in buckets day by day. Its location also left the city vulnerable. If there was a besieging army it was easy for them to prevent the people getting to the spring.
King Ahaz lived around the time Isaiah was prophesying. He started to build a tunnel from the spring into the city and his son, King Hezekiah, probably completed it. You can read more about the inscription found in the 19th century and Isaiah’s softly flowing waters of Shiloah in my other blog on the subject.
This tunnel would have had a significant impact on the lives of the people of Jerusalem at the time. The water from the Gihon spring flowed through Hezekiah’s tunnel into the Pool of Siloam (Sent). Later on Jesus sent a blind man to that pool who returned seeing (John 9).
According to the understanding I have been given (hopefully by the Lord – I will let you be the judge of that) the following is what is represented by the spring, Hezekiah’s tunnel and the pool of Siloam (Sent):
- The Gihon spring represents the 5 fold ministries and gifts of the Body of Christ, His Church. Powerful and upwelling these gifts and ministries supply sustenance and support for any living church. Without them any church will die – or was never living in the first place.
- The tunnel represents a means of enabling the 5 fold ministries and spiritual gifts to function or be channelled into a church. I believe Paul has shown us how this is done using the model of church meetings he describes in 1 Cor. 14:26- 40. Our local church (Open Arms) is facilitating this mode of church expression with meetings on Monday evenings in the main hall (closed for summer break July and August 2019).
- The Pool of Siloam is the healing place for the saints in the midst of the church. The 5 fold ministries and spiritual gifts are functioning in it and people are being healed, set free and delivered.
For any church the application is clear. Just like in Ahaz and Hezekiah’s time there will be some messy work to be done. The tunnel will require work and digging at. The literal tunnel in Jerusalem run for 500m under the wall of the city and the waters emerged, gently flowing, in the centre of Jerusalem. However the work required to build it took two teams of workers coming at it from both directions and meeting in the middle. They didn’t have tunnel boring machines so this was wielding pickaxes and sledgehammers, blow by blow at the rock that underlaid the city’s foundations. There was risk involved. No doubt many said at the time it was too dangerous. Perhaps some lives were lost. But the results made it all worthwhile.
It wasn’t long after the tunnel was built that the King of Assyria arrived with a horrific army and a reputation for flaying people alive. All he could do was lock Hezekiah and his inhabitants up inside the city. He knew the water supply and no doubt tried to block up the tunnel but who knows how much valuable time Jerusalem gained while the waters still flowed. In the end not even the spring could save them but God intervened.
Without Him we can do nothing.
But with Him anything is possible.
Isaiah compares the governance and work of the Lord in Jerusalem to the gently flowing waters of Shiloah in Isaiah 8. Shiloah is generally recognised as being the same word that is translated Siloam or “Sent” in John 9. It is the place Jesus sent the man blind from birth to wash and come back seeing.
The gently flowing waters of Siloam refers to the ebb and flow of the waters that passed through a tunnel in the very centre of Jerusalem. This tunnel had been dug during Isaiah’s time. An inscription has been found dating from the period which uses the same Hebrew word “ ” that Isaiah used to describe the waters flow. The lengthy inscription explains that the tunnel was built from both ends at the same time. One set of workmen started at the Gihon spring and the other started in the centre of Jerusalem. The workmen met in the middle – which wasn’t easy to do.
In the very heart of the City of God there flows a river that makes the Lord glad (Psalm 46:4). It is a gently flowing river of healing and it needs to be directed and revealed by the work of godly men.
Our churches are places of healing but it takes the work of godly men to reveal that. The healing streams are there, we just need to dig and work hard together to meet in the middle so they can be revealed and everyone be refreshed.